Boy, 5, Fighting Same Type of E. Coli That Killed His Sister

July 20, 2017 Updated: July 20, 2017

Two young siblings from Minnesota have been sickened by E. coli. One is fighting for his life, and the other died earlier this week.

Kade and Kallan Maresh were sickened by a shiga toxin-producing bacteria earlier this month, causing acute kidney failure, the Minnesota Star Tribune reported on July 18.

Parents Joseph and Tyffani Maresh said the toxin from the bacteria killed their daughter, Kallan. Kade needs constant dialysis after his kidneys failed.

“We were able to give Kallan a bath and put her favorite jammies on her,” her parents wrote Sunday on CaringBridge. “We got to hold her free of tubes and snuggle and kiss her. She is the most amazing little girl in the world. Our hearts are aching with the deepest sadness.”

Kade, meanwhile, is “still fighting” and the “toxins have not reached his neurological system but both kidneys. He has had a blood transfusion [and] is on kidney dialysis and may need platelets,” they wrote. “He has a long road to recovery and we hope and pray the toxins stay away from his brain and heart and other organ systems.”

Now, the Minnesota Department of Health is investigating how the two children were infected. Officials asked a petting zoo to pull their farm animals from the display, Fox9 reported. State Public Health veterinarian Joni Scheftel said the Department of Health is looking into what the children ate and where they visited in the past two weeks.

“In that syndrome, their blood cells are destroyed, and also the kidneys stop functioning,” Scheftel said, referring to symptoms caused by the type of E. coli they contracted. “And so it’s very serious … there are long hospitalizations and sometimes death.”

They contracted a type of E. coli that causes hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which can cause organ failure.

“Normal, healthy well-cared for animals can carry germs that can make people sick, and you can’t tell by looking at animals, which one may be shedding a germ and which one isn’t,” Scheftel added.

A GoFundMe set up for the family has raised more than $65,000 for medical expenses for the children.